Lumbar puncture

My neuro wants me to have a lumbar puncture, just to be certain of my RRMS diagnosis, so come on, sock it to me. How bad is a lumbar puncture, really?


Welcome to this brilliant site.

I had my lumbar puncture 8 years ago and to be honest it was quite painless. I know everybody have their own experience but mine was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting.

You just feel a little scratch at the base of your spine and they withdraw fluid. They then asked me to lie completely still for about 2 hours and drink as much water as I can manage, which will stop the headaches that can occur afterwards. Now they say to drink full sugar coke/tea because the caffeine really helps apparently. The I had to wait for the results. Mine was positive for obliconal bands so then got definite diagnosis of MS.

Don’t worry. The LP is not as bad as you hear, or mine wasn’t anyway.

Good luck with it.

Shazzie x

Hiya Twichy,

I had my LP some 42 years ago so I am sure things have improved since; I know the needle has.

The actual procedure is not painful; in fact the only thing you feel is a scratch when the anaesthetic goes in. The actual removal of fluid is just a feeling of pressure if done properly. I must stress if done properly; do not let anyone practice on you insist on someone who is experienced.

It’s after you MAY get something called ‘the headache from hell.’ To cut down the chances of getting this you should lay flat for at least 3 hours do not even get up to go to the loo; use a pan. Drink at least 2 litres of classic Coke, not diet; it’s the caffeine that aids replenishment of your CNS fluid. Being your drinking a lot take one of those bendy straws otherwise the bed will get more Coke than you. If you want a change of drink very strong coffee.

These things will drastically reduce your chances of getting a headache that could last about 8 days. If you have a couple of days off work and rest if you do not get the headache, if you do 10 days off work.

If the headache last more than 10 days you could need a blood patch; especially if there’s a wet patch on the bed in the area of the spine after a nights sleep; this is rare.

Good luck.

Sorry to be Anon but I have reasons

Had mine 16 years ago and it was a breeze. Must admit I was terrified after hearing the girl in the next bed, she carried on like one big baby, but I laughed when her dr said … Why are you carrying on… I only marked your back with my pen roflmao Don’t worry it’s quite painless Lynn XX

I had one in July, they used a new thinner needle which you don’t get headaches from, and no need to lie down or drink etc. She did hit a nerve so I nearly hit the ceiling, but even after that worst case scenario (according to the pre procedure talk) it was still better than I’d worked myself up to think.

You’ll be fine.


A comment I made when someone aske a few days back went:

Just ask them to hold on for a minute extra after the local anasthetic.
Then you should not feel a thing.

Afterward, they will tell you to lie still.
Do it! Lie real still for as long as possible.
Ideally, have someone with you that you can talk to.

Then sit up real gently and drink sonething with caffeine in (Coke, tea; better than coffee).
After that, I walked through to Haematology for a blood sample, walked to the car (slowly) and drove 30 miles home (carefully).

Not the most fun experience, but it does not have to be a bad one.


Sorry to hijack But thanks for this I have mine tomorrow . REALLY looking forward to it ! NOT ,NOT, NOT

Aah, thanks Kel…I was wondering because they didn’t make me lie down afterwards or drink anything and I didn’t have any problems at all. Catherine Xx

I had no problems at all!

Just relax. It wasn’t so bad. Drink the red bottled coke afterwards. Loads of caffeine helps. BE

Had one only a few weeks ago. They get lots of bad press, but no problem at all, I promise you!

Had one only a few weeks ago. They get lots of bad press, but no problem at all, I promise you!

Like others who have replied, I didn’t feel a thing! However, I only had the bed for an hour, as did all the others that day, and wasn’t given a drink all day while I was waiting so was pretty dehydrated and apparently an hour isn’t long enough lying flat. I was well enough to enjoy a meal on the way home that evening, but the following morning woke up with the mother and father of a headache which was completely resistant to painkillers and was only eased by lying flat, very still. The headache lasted for a week, although after three days I could sit up for a little while. I don’t want to scare you, but please have plenty of fluids and try to lay flat for a few hours afterwards. good luck.

By the way, my lumbar puncture was inconclusive but I still got my diagnosis of spms. When I spoke to a fellow mser he said lumbar punctures often were inconclusive, which made me wonder why they still persist in doing them.

About 5% of LP results of people DX with MS are normal but oligoclonal bands are indicative of MS. So they are extra info that can help with the DX. I’ve read several times (and not had it refuted) that MS DX can only be certain on autopsy! So if we want a DX while alive the best is an expert weighing up all the evidence.

Thanks for all the advice/info/shared experience! Unfortunately I’m allergic to caffeine, so will have to avoid that particular bit of advice, but I’ll do my best to follow all the others. Don’t have a date yet, hope it comes soon because I think the nervous build-up to it will be worse than the actual procedure!